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Maryland women’s soccer beats Appalachian State, 3-1, in home opener

The Terps bounced back from an early deficit to move to 2-1 this season.

Gabe Fernandez/Testudo Times

After suffering a shutout loss to James Madison on Sunday, Maryland women’s soccer bounced back, winning its home opener against Appalachian State on Friday.

The Mountaineers struck first in College Park, but the Terps equalized on an own goal a few minutes later. Maryland pulled away with two goals in the second half to win by a 3-1 final score.

Both teams appeared to evenly matched through the first part of the first half, as the score remained 0-0 at the 20-minute mark. That changed in the 22nd minute, though, as a turnover after a Rachel Egyed goal kick was intercepted by defender Sarah Murphy and placed just where it needed to be to sneak by Egyed.

The Terps, not shaken after allowing a sloppy goal, increased the pressure from that point on. In the 23rd minute, forward Alyssa Poarch made a nice move off an entry pass and took it down the Appalachian State sideline, drawing a corner. Although the corner wasn’t converted, Maryland continued to mount attacks, one resulting in a shot on goal by midfielder Loren Sefcik.

The attack reached its peak towards the end of the first half, with a strong cross from forward Mikayla Dayes ricocheted off an Appalachian State defender and into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1. The offense kept the momentum going too, working another shot on goal in the 34th minute of the foot of season-opener hero Jarena Harmon.

At the end of the first half, though, Egyed was substituted for Erin Seppi. In what has become a string of games now, the two goalkeepers have split playing time, with head coach Ray Leone not opting for one goalkeeper over the other through three games now.

“They’re both experienced,” Leone said on the rotation of goalkeepers. “It’s no different than any other position, so to split in the middle of a game isn’t that big of deal.”

The Maryland offense stayed hot into the second half as well, with Sefcik getting a shot on goal in the 46th minute and Poarch earning another minutes later. The game entered another sort of lull offensively for both teams, but Maryland was able find its groove again by scoring in the 64th minute. The ball was played wide to M Darby Moore, who put on the brakes to hit Mikayla Dayes right outside the goal box for a shot on goal, which deflected right to Harmon for the tap-in.

“One of the most important things we talk about constantly is to follow up shots,” Harmon said after getting her second tap-in goal on the season. “I know last year there were a lot of shots that probably could have been made into goals just by following up shots, so I make sure I am very attentive on the field.

With the score still tight at 2-1, the Terps went hunting for breathing room late in the game, and were able to convert in the 85th minute and doubling the lead. Hope Lewandoski laid the ball into the box for midfielder Anissa Mose, who was able to bend it around the goalkeeper for her first career goal.

“I definitely thought I was gonna botch it,” Mose said. “But we have been working on shooting lately.”

The Terps will have a quick turnaround for their next match, as they travel east to Annapolis to face Navy on Sunday.

Three things to know

  1. The offense looked good. To the worry of many Terps fans, the team was held scoreless and looked out of sync against James Madison. The offense bounced back in a big way Friday night, amassing 15 shots with nine being on goal and three being converted. Maryland will hope to build off this performance and maintain consistently good offensive attack.
  2. Mikayla Dayes was making plays. Although not finding herself on the scoresheet, the sophomore remained an offensive playmaker for the Terps, making some impressive moves to get herself on goal, and getting the unofficial assist on Jarena Harmon’s goal.
  3. The defense held its own. While the offense stole the show this game with three goals, the Terp defense played strong all 90 minutes. Despite the turnover that led to Appalachian State’s first and only goal, the Terps locked down on defense outside of that, limiting the Mountaineers scoring opportunities and not fouling in the defending half